2022 MLB draft grades: See what national experts though of the Rangers’ picks

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When Kumar Rocker was announced as the Rangers’ third overall pick it confused and surprised many MLB draft writers. Rocker wasn’t expected to go in the top 10 and the Rangers ended up signing him more the $2 million under slot to free up room for elite high school pitcher Brock Porter.

That strategy wasn’t evident until Texas took Porter with its fourth round pick on day two, but it didn’t stop national writers from questioning the Rangers’ confusing first round selection.

Here is how draft experts graded the Rangers’ first round pick:

Grade: C

“Wow. The Rangers only had one Day 1 pick after signing Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, and they swung for the fences. Rocker comes with obvious risk after his deal with the Mets fell through over arm concerns, but his stuff is still electric if he stays healthy. How did he improve his draft stock by seven slots by essentially sitting out a year?”

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Grade: C

“One of the big surprises of the first round. Rocker’s stock was hard to pin down following a year that included a shoulder operation and a proof-of-life tour in the Frontier League. There’s no knocking Rocker’s past success at Vanderbilt, but clubs have expressed reservations about his long-term outlook because of his lacking changeup and the negative impact his delivery has on his command and, potentially, his arm health. The Rangers reuniting Rocker with former Vanderbilt teammate Jack Leiter is rad as heck though.”

Grade: B-

“Already the surprise of the draft. Rocker is joining former Vanderbilt teammate Jack Leiter with the Rangers. After not signing with the Mets last year, Rocker had to wait until the 2022 MLB Draft to be selected again. The upside is there; Rocker was considered a top-10 prospect a year ago. But there is more risk than other players who were available given past injury concerns and occasional waning velocity. He has just 20 innings on the mound since he pitched at Vanderbilt, and while he looked electric in them, there’s a lot of uncertainty. That said, Rocker is already likely ready to pitch in a big league bullpen. If he can live up to his past hype, the Rangers will have a dynamic 1-2 starting punch with Rocker and Leiter.”

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